January 25, 2020
Family Court Services

Child Custody Recommending Counseling (formerly mediation)

Family Court Services (FCS) is part of the Court and provides child custody recommending counseling for families with custody and visitation disputes. A person may be referred to a recommending counseling appointment when an action is started that involves custody or visitation. During the appointment both parents meet with a FCS professional also called a "child custody recommending counselor." He or she will help the parents reach an agreement concerning custody and visitation. If the parents reach an agreement, they may receive help drafting a stipulation and Court order through the office of the Family Law Facilitator (650) 261-5010. If the parents do not reach an agreement, the recommending counselor is required to make a recommendation to the court.

Parent Orientation Class

Parent Orientation is mandatory. You must complete this class before attending your first mediation/child custody recommending counseling (CCRC) appointment.

Parent Orientation will assist you in knowing what to expect at your upcoming mediation/CCRC appointment. It will also prepare you to think about a parenting plan that will be best for your children.

There is an accompanying Parent Handbook that includes important information about logistics, resources, and helping your children through their parents' separation/divorce.

The Parent Orientation is completed online. You may complete it at the time most convenient to you, as long as it is done before your appointment:

  1. View the Orientation
  2. Download: "Parent Handbook"

If you need to access the workshop at a Court or community location, please refer to Internet Access for the Online Parenting Orientation, or call our office to have a list of options sent to you.

If a disability or language barrier prevents you from completing the parent orientation online, please contact Family Court Services (FCS) at 650-261-5080 for information on how it can be completed in person.

Parent Workshop

The court strongly recommends parents with disputed custody and visitation issues to attend a parent education class prior to the court date.

Additional Services


Contact us

400 County Center, 6th Floor,
Redwood City, CA 94063 [Directions]

Phone Number and Phone Hours:
(650) 261-5080
Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Closed from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.)

Fax Number: (650) 261-5142

Office Hours: Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Closed from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.)

For child support matters, please contact the San Mateo County Department of Child Support Services  at 1 (866) 901-3212.

© 2020 Superior Court of San Mateo County